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My Snatch isn’t perfect!

My Snatch isn’t perfect!

February 11, 2013

Every time I get instruction from another professional I learn something. Today I learned that my Snatch is far from perfect. I also learned that I haven’t been teaching it in the most appropriate way for everyone.

I learned two important things from Coach Keith today in our Olympic Weightlifting class. First, my feet in the squat have been getting a bit narrow, so feel free to ask about foot width and question mine in demonstrations. Your foot width will be different depending on sex, hip width and leg segment length.

Secondly and more importantly I learned about shoulder rotation in the setup position. My priorities as a coach are always safety first then technique then intensity. Therefore, I spend a lot of time learning from mobility and flexibility experts about the proper way to prepare for and to perform a movement.

In the 1st picture, Physical Therapist Kelly Starrett from MobilityWOD.com shows “the proper setup position” for a Snatch. (Read his bio and you will see he is THE MOBLITY EXPERT!) Look at the elbows. His elbow pits are facing forward. Kelly explains in several of his blog post videos this position is used to build torque in the shoulders and tighten up the back to prepare for the pull upward on the bar. For those of you with really tight shoulders, striving for this position will help keep the chest upright and the bar moving in a straight upward path. This picture is for you if you have extremely internally rotated shoulders. This describes you if you try to get your “elbow pits” facing each other with your hands on the bar and they just keep facing your butt. If that describes you then keep trying to get into this position.

In contrast, the 2nd picture from Greg Everett at Catalyst Athletics shows “the proper setup position” for the Snatch. Greg Everett is one of the worlds most renowned Olympic Weightlifting teachers and authors. In this picture notice that the shoulders are more over the bar and the elbow pits are facing each other. As Coach Keith explained during today’s class, this setup position limits the need for shoulder rotation during the Snatch. Picture 2 is the setup position you should strive for if you can easily get your “elbow pits” facing forward, or at least facing each other. For you, picture 1 may be “too much of a good thing”.

The lesson I learned (remembered) from this is something I tell all of you very often. Be careful who you listen to about what. Refer to experts about their expertise. Just because someone is popular and on TV or on the internet doesn’t mean they know everything. And, it doesn’t mean you or I will interpret it correctly. If you need to make changes regarding mobility and flexibility, Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD.com is the go to guy. When making changes regarding your Olympic Weightlifting technique Greg Everett and Coach Keith are the experts.

You should always ask your coach how to correct your weaknesses. However, remember that your CrossFit coach is more likely a “jack of all trades”. We know enough about everything we do to help you reach your general fitness goals as safely and effectively as possible. However, because all of your goals and needs are so different from each other, 1 person can’t be the expert on everything. Your CrossFit coach may offer some suggestions, may tell you where to look for the answer or might say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you”.


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